Agricultural holdings including crofting and small landholdings

Policy actions  2 of 3


Crofting continues to form an integral part and contributes towards the social, economic and environmental sustainability of Scotland’s rural areas. There are over 20,000 crofts with over 33,000 people living in crofting households.

A croft is a small unit of land traditionally situated in the former crofting counties in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.

A crofter is normally the tenant of a croft, and pays rent to the landlord of the croft. Rent is paid for the land only as any house, agricultural building, fence etc is provided by, and owned by the crofter. A crofter may own their own croft, which remains in crofting tenure.

Crofting tenure gives wide-ranging rights to crofting tenants, such as:

  • security of tenure
  • fair rents
  • compensation for permanent improvements
  • to pass on their tenancies to members of their families or
  • to pass their tenancy to other third parties (with the approval of the crofters commission)
  • to purchase either, their house site or, if they wish their croft as a whole, at a fixed price

We are committed to doing all that we can to support crofting for the benefit of present and future generations.

Economic condition of crofting

We are required by the Crofting Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 to produce a report every four years on the Economic Condition of Crofting for the Scottish Parliament.  Reports have been published for the period 2011 to 2014, 2015 to 2018 and 2019 to 2022. The next report is due in 2026

Read more: Economic condition of crofting 

National Development Plan for crofting

We developed a national development plan for crofting in conjunction with stakeholders, which was published in March 2021.

Support and advice for crofters

A number of organisations offer advice and support to crofting communities and we administer a number of financial schemes and funds.

Schemes and funds 

A number of schemes and funds which may be relevant to crofters are listed on the Rural Payments and Services website, including the Croft House Grant.

Advisory bodies

Stud farm facilities 

The stud farm facilities at Knocknagael, Inverness have been modernised and renovated.

Crofting Register

The Crofting Register is operated by the Keeper of the Registers of Scotland (RoS). The register was introduced to remove doubts as to the extent including boundaries of croft land and the rights and responsibilities held by crofters. 

Search or register a croft on the Crofting Register on the Registers of Scotland site.

Crofting community right to buy

Crofting communities have the right to acquire and control the croft land where they live and work, and to acquire the interest of the tenant in tenanted land (interposed lease). Read more: Crofting community right to buy


Crofters (Scotland) Act 1993
Crofting Reform etc Act 2007
Crofting Reform (Scotland) Act 2010
Crofting (Amendment) (Scotland) Act 2013



Scottish Government
Agriculture and Rural Economy Directorate
Saughton House
EH11 3XD

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